Bruges is often overshadowed by the glitz and glamour of its nearby cities, but if you take a closer look, you will be surprised. Bruges has old canals, historical buildings, and delicious food. Apart from chocolates, waffles, and beers, Bruges has so much more to offer. This exciting 2 days winter itinerary Bruges will help make sure you experience Bruges to the fullest.
How to get to Bruges, Belgium
Bruges (also known as Brugge) may not be as popular as other cities in Europe, but it surely is easily accessible. You may take budget flights to Brussels and from there, you can take a train ride for an hour and thirty minutes to Bruges. There are taxis and buses available at the station to take you to the city center of Bruges.
When to visit Bruges
You can visit Bruges all year round. I personally prefer to visit during the winter months as Bruges is then less packed with tourists and transformed into a magical winter wonderland with christmas markets. If you do not mind the cold weather, it’s the perfect time to visit Bruges. Also, the prices of hotels and other goods tend to become more budget-friendly during winter.
2 Days winter itinerary Bruges, Belgium: day 1
Day 1 is all about getting a feel for Bruges and allowing yourself to fall in love with the city. The good news is, Bruges is insanely walkable, and with all its main monuments and sights packed tightly into a small city center, you’re able to explore every sight easily. Here is my suggested itinerary on what to do for your first day in Bruges:
Go visit some Christmas Markets (Market Square, Burg Square and Simon Stevin Square), the Belfry of Bruges, Historium Bruges, Rozenhoedkaai and make a Bruges Canal Tour. Also make sure to experience the best waffle of Bruges and some typical Belgium beers.
Visit the Christmas markets in Bruges, Belgium
Every winter, the beautiful, historic, medieval, and old town of Bruges transforms into a magical winter wonderland with sparkling lights, Christmas trees, and wonderful Christmas markets. Our Bruges Christmas Markets Guide will walk you through one of the best Christmas markets in Belgium. A short summary can be found below:
It’s fun to start at the main Bruges Christmas market at the Market Square. At this square you can find a huge Christmas tree, dozens of wooden chalets with Christmas items, gift items, handicrafts, and many stalls where you can enjoy hot chocolate, mulled wine (glühwein), refreshing gin, sausages and hot waffles.
At the Market Square you can also climb the 366 steps to the top of the Belfry of Bruges to enjoy the best possible view over the Christmas Market. If you don’t like climbing that much, you can also have a drink at the panorama terrace of the Historium café. Inside Historium you can experience a 8 minute virtual reality experience that will take you back in time to medieval Bruges.
After the Market Square continue your walk to the Burg Square. Burg is another one of Bruges’ beautiful squares, home to important sights like the Town Hall and the Basilica of the Holy Blood. During winter you can find a huge Christmas tree on this square. Don’t forget to take a photo with it and to enjoy the best waffle of Bruges at the food truck on the Burg square, next to the town hall.
Simon Stevin Square
The Simon Stevin square is a central square in the Steenstraat, one of the main shopping streets in Bruges. By foot it only takes you a couple of minutes from the Burg Square to walk towards this market. The rectangular square is symmetrically aligned with trees and Christmas stalls. Especially all kinds of Christmas decorations, handmade gifts, and winter equipment can be found here.
Enjoy Belgian hot chocolate and fresh waffles for lunch
Belgium is famous for many things, but one of the first things that pops to mind are chocolate and waffles. Bruges does not disappoint for chocolate and waffles. I hope you don’t mind waffles for lunch. After visiting the Christmas markets, you could probably use a hot drink. The Old Chocolate House is a cozy teahouse and chocolaterie where you enjoy giant mugs of incredible hot chocolate and some delicious waffles. The place is also very cozy and there is a shop downstairs where you can buy delicious treats.
Make a Bruges Canal Tour
Yes, it’s a bit chilly to take a boat tour in winter, but it is an unforgettable experience. It is beautiful to experience the Winter Wonderland of Bruges from the water.
In Bruges the canals are relatively inaccessible. There are just a few places where you can actually walk along the canals. To really explore the canals, secret gardens, picturesque bridges, beautiful architecture, and wonderfully views, you should explore Bruges by boat! It is quite fun driving through all the small canals of the city and you get to see many things in a short time. The views of monuments and centuries-old buildings are fantastic.
Take photos at Rozenhoedkaai
It’s probably getting dark already, which is the perfect time to visit Rozenhoedkraai. As one of the most photographed spots in the city, Rozenhoedkaai is a spot you definitely want to visit. Its scenery is stunning in the evening which makes it a great place to take photos.
Try Belgium beers at a beer cafe in Bruges
To end your first day in Bruges stop by one of the many nearby cafés and grab a table to taste some delicious Belgium beers and food. Since it’s winter, try a Belgium Christmas beer. Look out for Glühkriek and Bush De Noël.
Overnight in Bruges, Belgium
There are plenty of accommodations available in Bruges. You can choose an affordable homestay, fancy hotel, Airbnb, or hostel.
Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce €€€
The Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce is definitely one of the best hotels in Bruges, Belgium. It’s located in the historic center of Bruges at the waterfront and is very luxurious. With a half-timbered facade and stained glass windows it’s a very romantic place.
Boutique Hotel De Castillion €€€
The Boutique Hotel De Castillion is a small elegant family hotel. The location of the hotel is very central and the rooms are beautiful! I love boutique hotels and this one is definitely in the top 10 boutique hotels I’ve stayed at.
B&B Sixteen €€
B&B Sixteen is a very convenient, quiet, and nice place to stay. With a very welcoming host and free parking spots, this B&B is a wonderful place to stay.
Hotel du Théâtre €
Hotel du Théâtre is situated in a historic building with warm décor, only 250 m from the Grote Markt and Belfort. The rooms are reasonable priced for the comfort you get. The breakfast is amazing!
2 Days winter itinerary Bruges, Belgium: day 2
Day two, because one day is not enough! Today, I suggest you in this 2 days winter itinerary Bruges to visit the Sint-Janshospitaal, the Church of our Lady Cathedral, the Minnewater Park, the chocolate museum and to experience the history of Belgian Fries. You can also taste delicious Belgian chocolate and fries during the day!
Marvel at the Church of our Lady Cathedral’s architecture
As one of the tallest buildings in Bruges, the Church of Our Lady is one place you definitely want to visit. The church is an iconic sight of Bruges and well known for its art collection. The morning is the perfect time to visit the church. Quiet and peaceful… After marveling at its architecture and art collection, you can visit its museum to learn more about the city and the church.
Learn about medical instruments at Sint-Janshospitaal
Another site you might like to visit in Bruges is the Sint-Janshospitaal, also known as St. John’s Hospital. It’s one of the oldest hospitals in Europe and nowadays a museum that features the hospital’s old infirmary, ancient furniture, silverware, and medical instruments. After visiting the museum, you can also travel to its herb garden.
See the history of Belgian Fries, then eat some!
People always underestimate how much there is to learn about potatoes and fries. If you want to get away from the crowds in Bruges or if you’re just a huge fries lover, you should visit the Frietmuseum. It’s the perfect place to visit around lunch time, because you can also visit the medieval cellars of the museum and sample some fries. The shop boasts a large menu. You get a discount on the fries with the entrance ticket.
Learn more about chocolate at the chocolate museum
Very close to the Frietmuseum you can find the Chocolate museum (Choco-Story). The Choco-story museum in Bruges is a wonderful place to indulge in your chocolate addiction without judgement and to learn more about chocolate from bean to bar and beyond. There’s a possibility to buy a combination ticket for the Choco-Story and the Belgian Fries Museum.
Go Ice skating at Minnewater Park
After all that sampling of chocolate and fries, you might want to look for a peaceful place where you can relax. Minnewater Park is a great place to visit! In the center of the park, you’ll find a Lake with some majestic swans swimming through its waters. You can stroll across its many bridges to photograph the park or just enjoy the day by resting in the grass by the canals.
In Winter you can also find an ice skating rink and a winter bar at the Minnewater Park. It’s absolutely a cozy place to visit! Skating is possible from 11 a.m. onwards and tickets are sold until 8 p.m. (9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays).
Go Christmas Shopping
If you have time and energy left, go Christmas shopping in Bruges, Belgium! If you’re looking for unique Christmas presents, Bruges is one of the best places I’ve visited. The massive selection of Christmas decorations, the unique shops, and the beautiful handmade Christmas gifts, are a real treat. The beautiful themed Christmas boxes with Belgium chocolate are always a good idea. These Christmas shops might have the item you’re looking for:
- Kerstbrugge (Breidelstraat)
- House of Christmas (Wollestraat)
- Christmas World (Zuidzandstraat)
Enjoy the light and experience trail
For your last evening in Bruges, you can stay a bit longer and wander through the famous areas at night. You can enjoy a light and experience trail that will guide you through town while seeing atmospheric lighting and projections. The light spectacle is both a great experience and a glimpse of Bruges’ rich history and architecture. Lights will shine brighter as you approach your destination. Each year, there are two illuminated trails that can be visited from 15h30 until midnight. This light and experience trail makes the ideal end to your two days stay at Bruges.
More Time in Bruges?
If you’re lucky enough to have even longer in Bruges, then why not explore more sights in Bruges or head out to explore the surrounding sights?
Tour The Brewery In Bruges
Visit the only remaining brewery in Bruges (De Halve Maan Brewery) and see where they have been making beer since 1865. The tour takes about forty-five minutes. Explore the trade secrets in beer making and get to taste the local beer Brugse Zot. They also serve lunch in the tavern for those looking for a different way to spend their meals.
See The Almshouses
The Almshouses are composed of 46 almost similar whitewashed houses. These houses were built by the rich for the (poor) elderly and single women in Bruges. The people housed in the almshouses prayed for the rich benefactors in the chapels located near their homes. Now, the Almshouses serve as shops and historical buildings that reflect the past.
Wander around and do some shopping
If you like shopping, you will love spending more time in Bruges! One of the most charming things about Bruges is of course its little streets with all the small shops. Bruges has been really keen on their #LocalLove movement, promoting handmade products that are produced locally.
With the healthy sea air in Blankenberge you can clear your mind easily. Blankenberge is just a short drive from Bruges and a great place to visit!
2 Days winter itinerary Bruges, Belgium
So, with this massive 2 days winter itinerary Bruges in tow, I hope you’re ready to tackle your 48 hours in Bruges! I hope this post gave you plenty of inspiration to enjoy Bruges to the fullest.
Have you visited Bruges? What did you enjoy doing most there and do you have any great tips to add? Please let me and other travellers know in the comment section below!
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